“The Secret of Becoming Good at What you Do,” by Nev Sagiba

Turn up anyway. If you don’t feel like it, turn up to training. If you feel under the weather, turn up. If it’s inconvenient, turn up anyway. If the weather is bad, cold, raining, miserable, whatever, turn up.

If times are tough, turn up. If you are getting married, there’s a death or a birth in the family, do your familial duties, then turn up to training. If you are suffering a really bad divorce, turn up to training in particular. It will provide good perspective.

If there’s an earthquake, flood, fire or a war and the dojo is still standing, train. If you are jet lagged, hungry, sleep deprived and there’s a training session, turn up.

Whatever happens, simply turn up and train and before too long you will have improved exponentially.

Then, instead of celebrating by taking time out, such as a grading pass, turn up. If you have broken leg or another injury, particularly turn up, to watch.

Whatever happens take the energy out of excuses and install it into the actions of turning up and training.

Budo is contingency training and no one will ever attack you when times or your mood or anything else is ideal.

Nev Sagiba


  1. bruce baker says:

    I am sure you have heard someone say,”…You gotta do that while you are young.” … haven’t you?

    You do the BEST you can with WHAT you got, right?

    I agree, the trick is to TURN IT UP until you reach or surpass your limits, whatever those limits might be, and when you reach those limits, know when to turn it down.

    Oh you will know, because muscles will twitch, your body will begin to fail, and you might even begin to lose consciousness, but you will only learn what those limits are if you turn it up a little every day until the obvious physical and mental strains begin to show themselves.

    Just PAY ATTENTION, so you don’t shorten your life by causing permanent injury either physically or mentally to either yourself or those around you …. because when you are old, injured, and your body is failing .. you will then tell others .. “YOU GOTTA DO IT WHILE YOU ARE YOUNG!”

  2. grinning ear to ear — simply perfect

  3. …the Way is in training – Miyamoto Musashi

    as you get older, you become a more attractive target for predation whether you’re a caribou or a human. if God gives you long life, you may still be called upon to give it to combat. training allows you to give what you have better. you might even “win”.

    (i like the scenes in the old samurai movies where the ronin shouts out his name and demands the names of his foes. sometimes breaks the action in the movies. might even work today.)

  4. Julian Ho (Aikibudokan-Houston) says:

    I could not agree more with these statements.

    Essentially, the essence boils down to the question of “why do I want to partake in Aikido?” Rhetorical, of course! I want to practice Aikido because I want to experience the moment of sublime beauty/life/death all wrapped up in one. Every moment on the mat at the Dojo is sacred times for me. I do not attend church or temple-when I practice whether at the Dojo or in my backyard,my mind and my body belongs to the higher spirit of whatever It is…

    Studies have shown that to reach the level of proficiency at any kind of discipline requires an average of 10,000 hours, or the equivalent of 10 years of practice-this applies to playing the violin (Joshue Bell), computer programming (Bill Gates & other computer whiz kids), or Pop music (The Beatles)(forgot source-read it too long ago!).

    For Aikido, it would probably take longer because it requires the “consiliency” of both the body and the mind. Since I began Aikido late in my adult life, I can only speculate thus far based on my own progress.

    The only way to Be is to be on the mat…That’s Living Bold…

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